ROSELAND — Vanessa Ross planned to honor her son's memory on the fifth anniversary of his shooting death Friday night.
Instead, she witnessed a shootout that sent dozens of people seeking refuge in her home and ended with her sister-in-law and a 6-year-old girl wounded.
"We were going to release some balloons and hold a candlelight vigil, but the guys shooting ended all that," Ross said.
The 6-year-old girl, identified as Quianna Tompkins, who Ross said is the child of her daughter's friend, was shot in her chest in the shooting shortly after 7:40 p.m. in the 300 block of West 105th Street, police said.
The girl's mother, Juannakee Kennedy, told reporters Saturday outside Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, her daughter was "fighting for her life."
The mother pleaded with the shooter to give himself up, saying, "We forgive you. I know you didn't do this on purpose."
Two people were questioned Sunday in connection with the shooting, but they were released without being charged, police said.
A 52-year-old woman, who Ross said was her sister-in-law, also was shot. Ross said the woman suffered a graze wound and was recovering at her own home Saturday morning.
"I got out of my shower, and it was just chaos. Police and crime tape everywhere," said Ross' 38-year-old neighbor Tariq, who declined to give a last name.
Ross said 30 to 40 people — a mix of solemn adults and children running around — were outside of her home commemorating the death of her son Brandon Snype, who was killed just up the block five years to the day.
The memorial got caught in crossfire between two groups that Ross thinks are part of warring gangs.
"It was really close," Ross said. "When we realized there was shooting, I said we've got to get into the house."
Ross said she saw Quinna climb up her porch and collapse in front of her door.
"She ran from the sidewalk to the grass to the house," Ross said. "I'm like, 'Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. I hope she's OK."
After scooping up her 2-year-old granddaughter and taking her into the house with others, Ross brought out a sheet, wrapped it around the girl, and waited for an ambulance to arrive.
Quianna was sent to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn in critical condition.
"My porch still smells like blood," Ross said. "I'm practically ready to move out of this block or area."
Ross said Friday's shooting had eerie similarities to the slaying of her own son.
"They're straight-up cowards," Ross said. "Just like when they shot my son, they are cowards."